Friday, April 25, 2008

Resistance is Futile

Soon There Won't Be An Off Switch

Since I don't drive much, I get to observe a lot more of what is going on around me these days. One of the things I have observed has me puzzled and just a little bit nervous.

If you haven't seen Star Trek recently, there is a race of aliens on the show called "The Borg". They are part human and part bio-machine. They are interconnected via an electronic network and think and act as one unit known as the collective. The Borg are not nice people, because they have no conscious, free will, or emotion. They are simply a force of nature that live to 'assimilate' all other life forms into their existence. They are like a living cancer.

Much like the child in the film 'The Sixth Sense' who utters the phrase, "I see dead people!", on my way home, "I see Borg People!"

Almost everywhere I go, I see and hear people talking on their cell phones. Some have the Bluetooth headsets that hang in their ears like hearing aids and some actually hold the cell phone to their ears. Regardless, they are all chatting away, but they aren't saying anything. They aren't asking for directions or informing someone of an upcoming event. Their conversations are not finite and they never have a conclusion. They just talk, non-stop, about anything and everything.

It is apparent to me, that there is a large segment of our population that has anxiety issues. These people seek each other out and continually talk to one another just to feel safe and relieve their fears. I suppose in the old days, they used to have long conversations over the back yard fence or on the front porch. But now, they do it everywhere, while driving their car, while riding the bus, while eating lunch. There they are, just jabbering away about how Leroy is selfish, or Barbara didn't come to a bridal shower, or that Jack is a lazy SOB.

It gets even worse. Since marketers and corporate executives know these people are out there, they actually market to them. I could never understand why some wireless companies would have plans for 6000 minutes a month, until I started noticing these people. The concept of jabbering on a cell phone for 5 hours a day is a poor man's alternative to psychiatry. Telling your problems and fears to a sympathetic ear at a cost of just $199 a month? Hey, that is pretty cheap mental health counseling.

These cell phone Jaberwalkies are nothing but the modern day Borg with a twist. They don't want to assimilate anyone, they are just feeding an uncontrolled and unbridled appetite for attention and anxiety relief. They contribute little to society, except to stuff the pockets of ATT and Verizon with cash. Orwell was right. There is a Big Brother, but he isn't quite the same one that George envisioned for 1984.